The Shortsighted Approach Replaces Jointness

The Army has created its own mini Air Force in Iraq, apparently with the full blessing of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, reports the New York Times. The news is only now leaking out; however, according to NYT, the Army established this new aviation task force, focused primarily on aerial surveillance, at Camp Speicher in Iraq last summer. Gates has criticized the Air Force for not putting more unmanned aerial vehicles in theater, but USAF has strained within its existing budget to put all available Predator UAV assets—airmen and machines—in the fight ahead of a changing DOD-imposed timeline. The Iraq unit employs civilian Beech C-12 aircraft, loaded with reconnaissance sensors, and small, medium, and larger UAVs—all in touch with Apache attack helicopters and armored infantry units via radio and on call for commanders at brigade level and below. The Times also notes that the Army is pressing Pentagon officials to OK funding for another aviation task force for Afghanistan.